Develop Strength Bruce Lee’s Way. By: Justin Frost and Ted Wong.
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Did Bruce Lee take his training seriously? "While Bruce was in Hong Kong filming in late 1971 or early 1972, he had his weight equipment and training gear shipped to him," saysTed Wong, who met Lee in 1967 and trained with him for more than six years. "He wanted to stay in shape. So we packed his bags, but we did not send any clothes because he said he could buy them cheap in Hong Kong. We just packed training equipment. When he saw all the bags filled with training equipment, he laughed and said, ‘Now I’m going to be able to do lots of training.’" And train he did."Bruce considered training number one," says Wong. "He was constantly training. When he watched TV or went to the movies, he conditioned his knuckles. When he was driving, he worked the hand grips. If he walked to a bookstore and came to a hill, he always ran. He never wasted time." Why was this man so obsessed with training? Several reasons. First, according to Lee, training was important because youcouldn’t perform up to your capabilities if you weren’t in shape, Wong recalls. "Lee felt you had no business being in the martial arts if you weren’t in shape," says Wong. "If you weren’t in shape you couldn’t be 100 percent efficient." Second, he had lofty goals. "He wanted to be the best," says Wong. "He wanted to be the best martial artist." And no one could dispute that he was. Lee’s Thoughtson Strength To get in excellent shape, Lee felt you needed strength, Wong notes. "He considered strength training very important," Wong says. "He was constantly looking for ways to improve, including weight training and isometrics." Although Lee felt strength was important, he did not believe bodybuilding was the answer, Wong says. "He felt it was important to have definition, but he did not feelyou had to overboard," Wong says. "He did not feel it was necessary to develop large muscles. On the other hand, strength and definition enhanced certain functions, such as kicking and punching." And Lee’s conditioning entailed more than hand grips, sit-ups, weights, running and conditioning drills. "A lot of the time he read books and analyzed different arts," Wong says. "He had a keen eye andan analytical mind. He did a lot of researching." While you may never develop Lee’s skills, you can certainly train the way the "Little Dragon" did. Following are a few of the exercises Lee used to develop power.
Lee’s Strength Routine
This exercise strengthens your arms, forearms, shoulders, biceps, lats, triceps, chest and abs. "This exercise works almost your whole body,"Wong says. "It’s really good; it’s effective. But it is also very difficult. Although Bruce lifted a lot of weight, most people can’t. I remember trying to lift what he used, and I couldn’t even hold it." To begin, stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width. Squat, grab the barbell with an underhand grip and stand up. Keeping your elbows by your side, raise the weight straight out,hold for a second, return and repeat. Do three sets of 8 to 12 repetitions. When you’re done, do three sets of 8 to 12 reps with an overhand grip.
Punching With a Dumbbell
This exercise improves your shoulder endurance, which is vital for sparring. "Bruce did this drill a lot." Wong says. Hold a five-pound dumbbell in each hand, assume a fighting stance and alternate throwing punches with eachhand.
"Do these moderately fast," Wong says. To prevent an injury, however, don’t throw your punches too fast. Do two to three sets, 10 to 15 reps per set.
One-Hand Dumbbell Drill This drill strengthens your wrist, which means your punches will be stronger. Lee used this exercise to enhance his one-inch punch, Wong notes. "When your wrist is strong, you get more power," he says. "And...